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Amex is Stripping Restaurant Credits from Priority Pass Membership; Chase Retains It

amex priority pass

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Update: Chase has confirmed that the restaurant credits and other non-lounge benefits are not changing for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders

Priority Pass is a network of more than 1,200 airport lounges worldwide that you can get free with certain credit cards. But one of the best perks isn’t a lounge at all: You can also get credits ($28 for you and a guest, generally) to eat at a growing number of airport restaurants.

It’s a great benefit – perhaps too great. American Express confirmed with View From the Wing that it will stop including those restaurant credits as of Aug. 1. That means American Express cards that come with free Priority Pass memberships like the American Express Platinum, the Hilton Aspire card, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant, and others will no longer be eligible for these free meals.

“The Priority Pass Membership benefit offered … will no longer include complimentary access to non-lounge airport experiences,” an American Express spokesperson said.

 

Amex Priority Pass

 

That leaves the Chase Sapphire Reserve as the best way to get an unrestricted Priority Pass membership. A Chase representative confirmed Thursday, July 11 that there are no changes to the Priority Pass Membership for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders. 

The Citi Prestige card also comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, and that benefit hasn’t changed either.

 

Our Analysis

This is a tough one to swallow.

The American Express Platinum card still offers unrivaled airport lounge access. In addition to the Priority Pass lounges, you can get into the growing number of great (yet often crowded) American Express Centurion lounges, like the Las Vegas Centurion Lounge. You can use Delta SkyClubs so long as you’re flying Delta that day. And finally, you can access Escape Lounges including our hometown favorite, Escape Lounge MSP. 

 

Amex Priority Pass

 

But many airport lounges in the U.S. are pretty mediocre – especially Priority Pass offerings. So being able to get a nearly $30 meal at select restaurants for free was a great perk. That’s now disappearing for the American Express Platinum card and other, top-of-the-line co-branded Amex cards.

Credit cards are a cutthroat business for the big banks. They’re constantly fighting for a spot in your wallet with big points bonuses and travel perks.

 

Bottom Line

You’ve only got a few more weeks to get some free meals with your American Express Platinum and Priority Pass card. Check out the list of participating restaurants, and be sure to go before this benefit disappears Aug. 1.

 

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

11 Responses

  1. Benjamin Troemel says:

    I was just considering upgrading my Hilton Amex to the Aspire for the various benefits. This seems like is reducing the benefits enough that maybe it isn’t worth the $450 annual fee.

    • Kyle Potter says:

      While this is definitely a bummer, there’s still a lot to like about the Hilton Aspire beyond lounge access and Priority Pass that can easily outweigh the fee. $250 airline credit and $250 resort statement credit can automatically wipe out the annual fee.

  2. Benjamin says:

    Thank you for the input Kyle.

  3. Griffin says:

    This is a huge kick in the groin. Question: At MSP, the only Priority Pass lounge is the PGA Lounge (excluding the 2 Delta lounges). Once youre in, you get a $15 credit for food, drink or golf stuff. Does this credit get wiped out too?

    • Kyle Potter says:

      Not 100% with a unique lounge like the PGA Lounge but I’m fairly certain that credit will disappear as well.

  4. Becky says:

    Bummer getting my coffee and lunch at French Meadow in MSP is standard practice. I hope Chase doesn’t follow suit.

  5. A huge blow to LAX members traveling internationally. The Alaska Lounge is inconveniently located (and tiny) so P F Chang’s was the best / only option for Bradley departures not flying in 1st.

  6. Andysol1983 says:

    “That leaves the Chase Sapphire Reserve as the best way to get an unrestricted Priority Pass membership. A Chase representative confirmed Thursday, Aug. 11 that there are no changes to the Priority Pass Membership for Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders. ”

    I have to assume you mean July 11? And do you have an email, tweet, etc to confirm this? You are the only one reporting this as of now.

    • Kyle Potter says:

      Yes — that’s been corrected, thanks for the heads up. And yes, I have an email from a Chase spokeswoman confirming that there are no changes to the Priority Pass Select membership with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

  7. Lena says:

    American express platinum continues to become more and more unappealing as the days go by. Or maybe I am just the unlucky one. First they stop access upon arrival (which I agree it should be limited but not completely stripped away) I have no lounge at my airport and let’s be honest who the hell arrives at the airport early to access the lounge? Talk about tacky. So unless I have a plane delay or a connecting flight that is a reasonable length I will never see the inside of their lounges. Next up they raise the annual fee $595 for business members and give dell credit. My company uses Apple so that means nothing to me. Then they add Wework….office spaces……but I already have an office and honestly if I am traveling to meet clients I would go to their office since they are local or meet them at Starbucks or a restaurant to be completely honest. I don’t know who is in charge of perks but they suck. All the perks in the world don’t make a difference if you can’t use them. The pp restaurant credit came in very handy. For a variety of people. That’s what made it so valuable. Everyone eats and everyone drinks (whether none alcoholic or not) No reason at all why American Express can’t make this right. Too many cards that are really competing and beating them out. I wonder if black cardembers go through these same cuts? If so that’s even crazier.

  8. KA75 says:

    There are terminals with no lounge such as LAX T1 (southwest) and the restaurant benefit was the only way for me to use the AMEX platinum benefit. I travel every two weeks from SLC to LAX with Southwest and now that they removed that perk, I’m carrying a card supposed to make my flight experience the best possible one, which in reality now offers me absolutely nothing. SLC airport have only a Delta lounge. Delta lounge is only accessible if you fly delta. If, like me you fly Southwest from SLC to LAX you have no free lounge / meal or drink any-longer… Amex should definitively provide alternatives (such as restaurant credit) when no lounge is available. If they don’t revise their decision or offer alternatives, I will switch from Amex Platinum to Chase Sapphire Reserve…

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